The Huntington School District is considering changes to the math program at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. Officials outlined the proposed changes for the Huntington School Board during a public meeting last week in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.
Assistant Superintendent Beth McCoy and Chairperson of Math, 7-12 Kathleen Aufiero explained how the changes would benefit students. Their PowerPoint presentation is posted on the district’s website at www.joshuacarnes.info.
A question and answer session on the changes will be held on Tuesday, January 30 at 7 p.m. in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium. All parents are invited to attend.
Officials visited several Long Island districts with similar accelerated math programs before seeking changes in Huntington. The visits included discussions with administrators and teachers and time spent in classrooms watching actual lessons and the reaction of students to the content presented.
During last week’s meeting, Ms. McCoy and Ms. Aufiero said the rationale for the changes is “to provide opportunities for a greater number of students to accelerate and to close achievement gaps.” They also highlighted that the shift would allow for greater academic opportunity in math and/or other subject areas during students’ high school years.
The proposal would make changes to the current Math 7 course, effective September 2018. The new course would be a prerequisite for Algebra 1, which would be offered to eighth graders beginning in September 2019.
“This new course will integrate current Math 7 and Math 8 curricula and will include the following topics: proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers, algebraic expressions, two and three dimensional figures using distance, angle, similarity, congruence and modeling with Pythagorean Theorem,” states the new course proposal presented to trustees.
The proposal would result in students taking Math 7 via an alternating day double period schedule. Thus, students would have two consecutive periods of math every other day throughout the school year.
If trustees adopt the proposal, all Finley eighth graders beginning in 2019/20 will participate in accelerated math through the Algebra 1 course. “Offering all students Algebra 1 content in grade eight will allow students to attain Regents credit prior to entering Huntington High School; take advanced math classes in their later high school years and increase opportunities for all students to attain an Advanced Regents Diploma upon graduation,” trustees were told.
The proposed alternating-day double period is designed to provide additional time for content delivery. Eighth graders in 2019/20 who need additional support in Algebra 1 will be scheduled for a double period on an alternating day basis.
Three-Year Transition Period
A three-year transition period will be utilized to usher in the changes. Trustees have approved alterations to Math 6, which is the first step in the process.
The sixth grade math curriculum will now be updated “to include math topics previously taught in seventh grade,” according to the proposal adopted by trustees. This will prepare students to learn a revised curriculum in seventh grade the following year. “More specifically, current content from the seventh grade statistics unit will be blended with that from current sixth grade statistics unit. This blended unit will be taught after the sixth grade state math assessment is administered.”
Trustees were told that the “incremental blending of sixth, seventh and eighth grade math topics, taught over the course of two years will prepare all students to take algebra in eighth grade.”
Parents with questions about the proposed changes can send a message to Ms. Aufiero at [email protected]